The End of the Web, Search, and Computer as We Know It
1) I left Twitter, which is exactly the kind of experience he advocates. And I don’t miss it. (Those who have seen me pop in now and again, it’s mainly to see if my archive is yet available.)
2) It won’t work. Has he never heard of spam?
3) It won’t work. Not even Twitter offers metadata for subjects. Metadata is the most important and most ignored topic on the web. Uncategorized information is just sludge.
4) It won’t work. Apple sees no need for sensible organization in its App Store, and without Apple and its iOS devices, that’s a big part of the user population left in the dark. There will be no tributary from Apple feeding into the stream.
5) It won’t work. Amazon doesn’t use the standard for books, ISBN, preferring to assign its own internal ID scheme for books. If we can’t agree on something librarians have nailed down to a precise science — books — forget it ever working for everything else.
6) Google Now and Siri are both nice but those aren’t the future. How do you compile a concise and relevant report in response to querying them? See metadata and spam.
7) Reputation matters. Gelernter dismisses sites, but sites have humans behind them and sites have track records. (Some even have explicit ethics.) A quantum of information is worthless without being able to trust the source. (See even those who seem trustworthy burn others on Twitter with lies.)
And that’s what I can think of immediately. I’m sure there’s much more. But without an underpinning of trustworthy and standardized metadata to begin with, nothing can work.
4 responses to “Gelernter’s Stream Of Sludge”
It’s interesting to me how many services there are right now that help people pull content (the good stuff) out of the time stream — Evernote, Instapaper, the various IFFT recipes that save to Google Drive, starring items in Twitter or Google Reader, etc.
Good post. I went to read Gelernter’s article, and I’m not even sure I understood that rant. I think he has a valid point that time is a neglected dimension in web browsing, but the main flaw I see is he seems to think the only thing important is the NOW. Has he ever tried the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine? I spend a good deal of my time doing time delimited Google searches. It’s a nightmare.
I also beg to differ that time is more important to most people than space. Uh, no. I’d say relevance is most important, time and space are just a way of organizing that via metadata. Oh yeah, and he did forget reputation and all that.
Now a question: how do you see BlogLovin’ in the context of his article?
Bloglovin’ is just raw RSS with illustrations. Out of 100 posts, if there are ten I actually clickthrough to read, that’s a good percentage. Hell, I put most posts in Categories here, but as far as I know, there’s no RSS reader that will pull in things via such Categories.
In the end, there’s only one relevant phrase in all this: The Flow. You can predict all you want. But the web is becoming, and has already become, an organism. In a melding of cyber and human brain the web will flow where it wills. Some people will get lucky and make correct predictions.
Temporal is just one thing; other stuff, surprising stuff, will rule for a while, then the king will be killed, sacrificed to the flashing, buzzing DNA of cyber networks, and a new king will be born… only one constant: The Flow.